Parotidectomy is the removal of part or all of the parotid gland on one side of the face.
The patient will be put completely to sleep with general anesthesia. In some cases, the surgeon might choose to use a special monitor that makes a noise when the facial nerve (including certain branches) is stimulated. A parotidectomy is done via an incision just in front of the ear in a natural skin crease that extends down into a natural skin crease in the neck. This allows the surgeon to hide the scar as much as possible rather than making an incision directly in the middle of face. When the tumor is in the deep lobe of the parotid gland, a different or additional approach might be required.
At the end of the procedure, the surgeon might place a small drain temporarily coming out of the skin. This will drain any fluid and/or blood that accumulates in the space where the surgery was performed. When the time is right (one day to a few days), the drain will be removed by the surgical team. This takes only a few seconds. There will be a little discomfort, but it will go by quickly. Depending on whether any additional procedures were done, patient will go home the same day or within a few days of the surgery. Patient should be able to drink and eat very soon after the surgery. There is little pain associated with this procedure, but will probably be given a little pain medication anyway.